How a photographer used a stray flash to make star Greta Gerwig look ethereal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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How a photographer used a stray flash to make star Greta Gerwig look ethereal

FILE - Jury president Greta Gerwig poses upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'The Shrouds' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern, Monday, May 20, 2024. Daniel Cole, a freelance photographer who does extensive work for The Associated Press, mostly in southern France, spends the majority of his time covering hard news. But he takes great joy out of spending nearly two weeks each May in a tuxedo, covering the glamourous Cannes Film Festival, where he can push the creativity of his photos even further. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP, File)

CANNES, France (AP) — Daniel Cole, a freelance photographer who does extensive work for The Associated Press, mostly in southern France, spends the majority of his time covering hard news. But he takes great joy in spending nearly two weeks each May in a tuxedo, covering the glamourous Cannes Film Festival, where he can push the creativity of his photos even farther. Here’s what he had to say about making this extraordinary image.

Why this photo

As a news photographer, to be dressed up and shooting the biggest stars as they waltz down the red carpet is not my usual routine. Yet the Cannes Film Festival has become one of my favorite assignments: a non-stop two weeks with no shortage of glamorous looks or Hollywood star power. It is an event that ceaselessly invites you to photograph people, a rare occurrence in the day-to-day of a news photographer.

I’ve come to see Cannes as a privilege to indulge the aesthetics of my pictures in a world where everyone is constantly inviting you to look at them.

During the red carpets, hundreds of people pose in front of you in magnificent outfits and flashy style pieces. It is a visual feast that invites you to photograph every detail. The goal for me, and for most of my colleagues, is to make the most aesthetic pictures of the biggest stars.

Many stars walked the carpet the night I made this photo and there were many pictures I did not make. But I immediately knew I had something interesting when I noticed the catch flash — light from another photographer's flash — across the face of "Barbie" director Greta Gerwig, this year’s festival jury president. When you manage to get a couple nice images with big stars, you feel you have added something to the AP coverage of this wacky world.

How I made this photo

At the festival, I have more creative freedom to look for the flashier and unusual moments. I like to use wide aperture prime lenses without a flash to contrast a bit from the typical entertainment aesthetic.

I shot this picture from the bottom of the grand red-carpet steps, which is a position with many angles to shoot. As Gerwig walked by me, I decided to follow her up the steps through my 135mm lens. I committed to what I thought would happen and was set on waiting for a reaction from her as she reached the top step.

She eventually did turn around, and I was lucky to get both her waving to fans and the added catch flash as I pushed down the shutter button. The blurring of lights at the Palais des Festivals added to the wacky image that combined her gesture with an interesting light show.

Why this photo works

A lot of my favorite images at Cannes are made in a similar fashion: trusting your intuition that the moment you think will arrive arrives and getting a lucky burst of light that elevates the moment.

If you manage to balance the right moment of the right star with some chance visual magic, you have a picture that can stand out.

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For more extraordinary AP photography, click here.

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